A poignant ceremony was held at the Ancient Athens Agora's Stoa of Attalus on Wednesday to mark the return of six priceless black-glazed ceremonial vases from the collection of eminent British scholar and philhellene Martin Robertson.
The miniature artifacts were bequeathed to the Athens Agora's museum, as stipulated in Robertson's will, following his death in December 2004. The author of the authoritative “A History of Greek Art” (Cambridge University Press 1975), considered his magnum opus, inherited the vases from American archaeologist Lucy Talcott, the recording secretary of Agora excavations in the 1930s and ‘40s.
The vases were officially presented by one of Robertson's sons, Stephen, at the ceremony, who stressed that he was bringing a gift by his father to "his beloved Greece". Stephen Robertson also drew a comparison to the ongoing campaign for return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens, saying Wednesday's ceremony can demonstrate to the British Museum's administration that a similar return of antiquities is not impossible.
On his part, the curator of the Acropolis archaeological site, Alexandros Mantis, expressed his thanks to the Robertson family, before noting that the vases' return marks the eighth repatriation over the past year of artifacts taken from Acropolis-related sites.
Finally, Culture Minister George Voulgarakis expressed his satisfaction with the fact the ceremony coincided with UNESCO's World Heritage Day.
Source: Athens News Agency